Name the Prejudice

Some people, like politicians and film stars, thrive on controversy. Their careers depend on publicity – good or bad. Psychological studies have proved that bad news attracts more attention, and therefore spreads faster and wider, than good. So, to be in the eyes of the public, ‘stars’ (or their PR agents) ‘leak’ rumours or scandals against themselves. They prefer being written against. Being ignored means death.
But to be controversial and become the centre of a raging social media debate from birth is the privilege of the scion of the Pataudi dynasty. Saif Ali Khan Pataudi and his wife Kareena Kapoor, named him Taimur and thereby touched off a debate on the social media like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. What was the right of the parents, to chose a name which an individual has to live with for his or her whole life, has come into the public domain.

rhodes_inida The ostensible reason for the digital storm is that the name happens to be that of Taimur Lang (Langda -lame- shortened. He had a deformed leg). Taimur was an Islamic invader from Mongolia who had attacked and sacked India, especially Delhi, with unequaled barbarity. Over 1.7 crore people were killed and thousands of women raped. But he was not the only one who did it. Other invaders and rulers like Ghajni, Sikandar, Babur, Tipu and Aurangazeb emulated him. Even after that the name Sikandar was given to many in India, without any protests. And yet India is home to the second largest number of Muslims in the word! To get their votes, some call India intolerant!

Continue reading Name the Prejudice

Tomorrow becomes Today

Yesterday I said I will blog today. I lied. That itself was yesterday’s blog. The tomorrow has become today and one more blog is in order. A friend had an objection: You don’t have to blog every day. Write a blog only when you feel like it, he said.

If that is done, half the books, articles and blogs in the world would not have been written at all. An equal number or more would have remained mere concepts in the minds of people, who either did not know the art and craft of writing or lacked the patience and will to go through with it. The unwritten works could have been lost masterpieces, great ideas wasted.

Every potential writer is told that good writing is the result more of perspiration than inspiration. The habit of sitting down to write and fulfilling a target every day must be cultivated, one is told. The need to express may take the form of writing, painting or even singing. Vincent van Gogh, one of the world’s greatest painters and a trail blazer, was said to have sat down to paint every day at fixed hours and even painted on earlier paintings or made self-portraits when he could not afford new canvasses or paid models.

And those who did not write because of the lack of will outnumber those who lacked the craftsmanship or art. “Why write?”, they question, “No one reads. Who has the time? Facebook and WhatsApp have killed reading.”

When I was down in spirits thinking “no one reads”, a social media contact knocked down that argument. She said writing, being read and people buying the book are three differed things. One should write because one wants to, not because someone reads or for the article or book to be accepted.

There are several reasons for writing and someone reading or appreciating is just one of them. Picking up links from the comments on different blogs I follow, I cam across one who blogs “to overcome depression” and another because she lost a child and wants to unburden the grief. I then remembered that the blogging I stopped years ago was started again when, after 48 years of marriage, my wife passed away.

Life deals a deadly blow to many. They suffer unexpressed agony that may lead to depression and even lead to suicidal tendencies or other mental ailments. I then recalled a poem by Alfred Tennyson I read decades ago – ‘Home They Brought the Warrior Dead’. A princess whose husband meets gallant death in war was stunned when the body was brought back. “She nor swooned nor uttered a cry”. Her maids tried to make her react because “a nurse of ninety years” told them, “She must weep or she will die.” When all efforts failed, her child was brought and put in her lap. Then “Like summer tempest came the tears.”  She realised that she must live – for the child.

A blogger sees the beauty of nature around him, captures it with his camera and shares the thrill. Yet another spins a poem a day – around the word suggested by the Daily Post.

Joy, not tragedy alone, may make one want to communicate.

To communicate is an essentially human need. When the cumbersome rules to shape the words into the format required for journalism or a book are removed –and  blogs impose no such requirements–  the writing becomes much easier. The blog may be just a few lines on some current event, an expression of some emotion aroused by the ups and downs of life, a deep, lengthy, philosophical analysis or  a few words with pictures of something that enthralled or shocked the blogger who wants to share it with others. Or it may be a representation in words or pictures of the “summer tempest” of tears that saved the heart from breaking or the mind from losing its balance.

A blog, without the compulsions of commerce, is a peep into one’s heart and soul. Just tbe ‘like’ it. Or ignore  it.

I Will Blog Tomorrow

My last blog was on November 4. Starting to write over 58 years ago and soon making the printed (or written) word my livelihood, I thought blogging was easy. It is not. Especially if you are used to writing 1000-word articles or ‘stories’ with a catchy ‘intro’ and a punchy conclusion.

After the last blog I began umpteen times. And gave up more times than that as some did not go beyond intention.

Delaying action or procrastination has been written about scores of times — sometimes as an ‘art’, often as a problem.  Recently a scinetific psychological study linked it to the process of evolution of human beings. The study has found that procratination has a ‘genetic component’ and is related to “traits like impulsivity and goal management”. Procrastination, it is revealed, is the result of “psychological factors” and “failure of mood regulation”.

This is as good as ‘discovering’ that putting a fingrer in fire can cause burns and it hurts. Everyone knows the causes. What they need to know is how to prevent it.

The Daily Post suggests a word on which the blog can be based. I found many blogs which try to fit that word in whatever was already in the blogger’s mind. Often it is so contrived and laboured that it is not spontaneous or natural.

Failure can be the foundation of a new effort, many inspirational speakers and writers say.So I thought of another method: Think of a title and write around it.

Some titles are so appealing that they will remain in memory for all time to come, like Richard Llewellyn’s ‘How Green Was My Valley‘ and ‘None But the Lonely Heart‘ or ‘Beyond the Darkness‘ by Samira Bellissimo. ‘I Will Cry Tomorow‘, a film on the life of an alcoholic, Lilian Roth, is another example.

The title, many writers feel, is what makes people read.

This is not true. I chose a title for a book 57 years ago – ‘A Town Called Penury‘ – published it last year and found that none of the 5000-odd ‘connected’ people had even their curiosity aroused by it -leave aside buying it to read.

Titles don’t sell. Only the status of the writer as a celebrity does. And (s)he does not get that status till the book sells. The viscious circle is broken only by luck – or good maketing. Both eluded me.

Even then I thought a catchy title will inspire me to write — if not the reader to read.

So I thought of one: ‘I Will Blog tomorrow‘.